Here is a round-up of the latest news in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, July 31.
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Public Health Wales (PHW) said the the overall death toll with lab-confirmed coronavirus was now 1,556 . The true death figures published by the ONS show there have been 2,501 deaths were Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate up to July 17.
The number of lap-confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Wales has increased by 16 to bring the total to 17,232 .
Up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors from Monday, and children will no longer have to social distance, the Welsh Government has said.
Today (Friday, July 31) First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, will set out changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales making it easier for families and friends to meet outdoors.
He is set to announce that from Monday, August 3, up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors and children under the age of 11 will no longer have to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults.
The new rules set to come into force are said to be in line with the latest scientific evidence about lower transmission rates in this age group.
Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes will be able to reopen indoors from Monday, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said he was “confident” the current state of coronavirus in Wales meant it is safe for hospitality businesses to resume indoor service.
Mr Drakeford told the Heart South Wales radio station he had been “impressed” with the way hospitality businesses had operated with outdoor service since they were able to on July 13, and that outdoor service would also now be allowed from August 3.
He said: “We said a couple of weeks ago that, provided everything went according to plan, we would be able to reopen indoor hospitality – cafes, restaurants, bars and so on, on August 3. It depended upon the state of the coronavirus. We’ve had the latest checks. We’re confident now that we’ll be able to go ahead.”
The UK government was criticised last night for the way it communicated major changes to lockdown in areas of England where the virus has been spreading more rapidly.
Late on Thursday night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire will be banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight.
The new restrictions apply to the whole of Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire including Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale as well as Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
The same restrictions will also apply to Leicester, which saw the first so-called “local lockdown” imposed on June 29.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the new measures will mean people in these areas will not be permitted to mix with other households outside those in their support bubbles in private homes or gardens.
Households will be able to go to bars, pubs and other hospitality venues but two households should not go together, the department added.
In a series of Tweets Mr Hancock said that there had been an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.
He said that this was due to “households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules” and the new rules were being put in place in order to “keep the country safe”.
The travel advice was updated for the whole of the UK on Thursday evening, following an earlier decision by the Scottish Government, and came into effect at midnight.
A rise in Covid-19 cases means Luxembourg has been taken off the list of countries exempt from quarantine measures, the UK Government said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet: “Unfortunately the latest Luxembourg data shows an increase in #COVID19 cases meaning the country will be removed from the travel exemptions list.
“Anyone arriving to any part of the UK from midnight tonight will therefore need to quarantine.”
The Government said data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England indicates a “significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Luxembourg”.
The small landlocked European country has seen a “consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population since the end of June, with over a tenfold increase in total cases over this time period”.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants can reopen in Leicester from Monday after the announcement lockdown measures would be eased.
Liz Kendall, Labour MP for Leicester West, said that despite an “unbelievably difficult period” for the city, the hard work and sacrifice of residents had paid off.
The Department for Health and Social Care said hairdressers, cinemas and museums would also be able to open, but social gathering restrictions would remain in place for the city and leisure centres, gyms and public swimming pools would also remain closed.
Mosques and other places of worship will be allowed to reopen from Monday, with Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth urging Muslims to celebrate Eid al Adha from Thursday “with your own household at home”.
Many people in Wales don’t understand the current coronavirus rules, compared to 90% during the stricter lockdown period, a study suggests.
Researchers found that as measures eased at different rates across the UK, levels of understanding of what is and is not permitted dropped, particularly among younger adults.
Some 45% of those surveyed reported having a “broad understanding” of the measures in England, according to an ongoing study of more than 70,000 adults carried out by University College London (UCL).
This is compared to 75% in Scotland and 61% in Wales – where rules were relaxed at a different pace – and 90% across the UK during the strict lockdown period.
Only 14% of participants in England report understanding the rules completely as the lockdown eased, compared to 18% in Wales and 27% in Scotland, according to the study.
Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt said: “This could possibly reflect difficulties in applying the rules to more complex life scenarios amongst younger adults, or may be reflective of the different amounts of time spent following the news on Covid-19 amongst different age groups.
“The general drop-off in understanding could be due to unclear messaging from the Government, or a reduction in interest and engagement from people, especially with the cessation of the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing in late June.”
A local lockdown is not yet being considered in Wrexham, where there has been a spike in cases, Wales’ chief medical officer has said.
Frank Atherton said transmission in Wrexham appeared to be stable and any lockdown would be a “last step”.
Dr Atherton told BBC Wales ministers had met Public Health Wales officials on Thursday, along with members of the health board.
He said transmission in the community “appears to be stable” but a “very close watch” was being kept on it.
Dr Atherton said: “[Wrexham Maelor] hospital is taking a lot of steps, of course, to increase testing of patients coming through the system to make sure that social distancing is possible in the hospital.
Wales’ First Minister has spent the last several months living in a “miniature” hut at the bottom of his garden, it has been revealed.
Mark Drakeford previously said publicly that he had not been living in his own home during lockdown in order to protect vulnerable family members.
But, speaking to hosts Jagger and Woody on the Heart South Wales radio show today (July 30), Mr Drakeford admitted his alternative accommodation was actually a “miniature” hut.
“As it happens my wife and my mother-in-law are both shielding so it’s very important that they are not put at risk because of their own health conditions,” he said.
“The nature of my job is that I am out meeting people all the time and undoubtedly, I am a risk to them.
He continued: “So since the beginning of this, they have been living in the house. I have been living in the hut at the bottom of the garden.”
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In Blackburn with Darwen, the rate has risen from 83.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 20 to 89.3 in the seven days to July 27. A total of 133 new cases have been recorded.
Leicester is in second place, where the seven-day rate has fallen from 67.8 to 60.2, with 214 new cases.
People who test positive for coronavirus or show symptoms in the UK must now self-isolate for at least 10 days, rather than seven.
The change, announced by the UK’s chief medical officers, comes as ministers try to avoid a resurgence of the virus.
Until now, those showing key symptoms – a new continuous cough, a temperature or loss of taste or smell – have had to self-isolate for at least a week.
The chief medical officers said the change is “particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission”.
News – Children under 11 will no long have to follow 2m social distancing